The Shipping News

"OK"

The Shipping News Review


Kevin Spacey is the Spock of serious actors. He's dependable, methodical, passionless, a huge fan of saying everything by saying nothing at all. He tends to gravitate towards characters hiding some sort of fiery secret pain by denying themselves exterior displays of emotion or excitement. In certain films, this really works, thus earning Spacey a reputation as on of Hollywood's best working actors. In The Shipping News however, it bombs badly.

It's not really Spacey's fault, it's just the script. Spacey is Quoyle, a newly single father, after his slutty whore of a wife (Cate Blanchett) is killed while selling their daughter on the black market to earn spending cash for her latest biker boyfriend. Quoyle spends his time grieving and in denial and soon decides to follow a long lost aunt to the homeland of his family in Newfoundland. There, he stumbles into a job as the shipping news reporter for the local newspaper.

The Shipping News could have been the gut-wrenching story of a single father coping with the loss of his wife, coming to grips with her true nature, and trying to reconstruct a new life for his little family amidst a strange and unfamiliar homeland. Instead, that is totally lost amidst a jumble of themes and fractured half-stories, none of which are never truly dealt with or fully developd.

Shipping News just can't decide where it should go. Is this a tale of the supernatural? Are we exploring local superstitions? How about Man vs. the Sea? Cheating spouses? Resurrections? Journalistic integrity? Missing emotionalism? Old woman lesbianism? It's just too much.

At least the film isn't boring. That mishmash of neglect at least keeps you guessing about where the movie will go. And despite its fractured nature, the film isn't awkward, just unresolved. With such a fine cast of high-energy actors, even Spacey's somewhat spaced out delivery doesn't get annoying.

And deep in that Newfoundland train wreck of conflicting explorations are moments of genuine profoundness and love. Because of those, The Shipping News isn't a total loss. It stands instead as a mere footnote, another example of filmmaking -- what might have been.

Suffer through the DVD and you'll find a commentary track (with writer, director, and two producers, joy!) as well as one of those lame canned making-of documentary shorts. Alas, none of it helps the movie at all.

The news is: she's stealing your car.



The Shipping News

Facts and Figures

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th January 2002

Box Office USA: $11.4M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 72 Rotten: 58

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Quoyle, as Wavey Prowse, as Petal, as Agnis Hamm, as Tert Card, as Jack Buggit, as Beaufield Nutbeem, as Billy Pretty, as Dennis Buggit, as Grace Moosup, as Bayonet Melville, as Silver Melville

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.